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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-26-13, 03:55 AM   #76
Jim from Boston
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I actually look forward to the ice and snow because I JUST got a pair of 700x35c Schwalbe Marathon Winter's. So far though turning in ice is scary because I still feel the bike slip, while making "modest" turns. And I'm not eager to see if it will continue to slip into a fall or regain traction...
I'm in at least the fifth season with the same set of Marathon Winters, and they are perfect for my conditions. I leave them on all winter, from mid-December to early April, and most of my riding is on wet or dry pavement. Nearly all the studs are stiil in place

Otherwise when I encounter black ice or hardpack snow they work well. Riding the studded tires has been likened to walking on sanded ice, secure, but be careful. My routes are well-tended, and maybe once a year I ride on new snow, and the Marathons are good up to about 3 - 4 inches, but with a lot of exertion. Fortunately the plows usually come soon because I am on a major urban traffic route (in the reverse commute direction).

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...I'm particularly grateful to [tsl], when as a new subscriber to Bike Forums, I read [his] post that absolutely convinced me to get studded tires. [He] commented that even in Rochester which knows how to handle winter roads, there always may be those isolated patches that can take you down, perhaps with serious injury...

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Old 12-26-13, 04:10 AM   #77
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Touch my butt. Nuff said.
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Old 12-26-13, 08:25 AM   #78
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My reason is simple. I love being on my bike. I can tune out whatever is weighing on me and just ride. It helps me focus for work, and then leave work at work when I'm at home.
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Old 12-26-13, 01:06 PM   #79
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As someone said above, seeing your breath on cold days. One thing I've noticed is that since I started cycling to work I've hardly ever had a cold. Maybe one or two days off work in four years; before, it was more like four or five days each year bogged down with colds/flu.
I can add that our employer spends $15,000,000 per year in diabetes related claims. I cost them a total $65 this year and about the same last year - as I get an annual blood check up. Also, I have not missed a day for being sick in many years.
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Old 12-26-13, 02:00 PM   #80
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As I'm leaving on a frozen morning and I see half a dozen people scraping windshields and cars idling to defrost the windows, I think "there but for the grace of God go I". I'm well on my way to work and comfortably warmed up by the time any of them are ready to leave.

Last week a coworker asked about my ride in, heavy rain with almost freezing temperatures. I said at least I didn't have to drive in this mess and get frustrated with traffic - and with his hour long drive in he saw the point.
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Old 12-26-13, 07:30 PM   #81
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I love my free parking. Yep: the university where I work charges employees for parking, and it's not cheap. I also like walking around the first five minutes in the office complaining about how hot it is while everyone else shows up in down parkas and claims to be cold.

Riding in the winter also gives me some awesome street cred with my students. Most of them quit biking to class back in October.
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Old 12-26-13, 10:16 PM   #82
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I love my free parking. Yep: the university where I work charges employees for parking, and it's not cheap...
My professional corporation pays for parking, and I get a reimbursement of a couple hundred dollars a year because I don't need it.
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Old 12-31-13, 05:39 PM   #83
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Being connected with the world. Seeing the phase of the moon every day, the amount of water in the creek and how much of it is frozen; seeing the yellow eyes of coyotes in the dawn and dusk alongside the path. --yarb


I also like walking around the first five minutes in the office complaining about how hot it is while everyone else shows up in down parkas and claims to be cold. --wipekitty

These are both good. I like having the Moon accompany me. Even though her light doesn't really make much difference for me. I wouldn't say that I feel bad when she comes up too late for my commute. But I'm happy when she's new. On a related note; I like being 'in tune' with the weather. I have a better notion of what to expect than the auto addicts. And I always have the right clothes with me.

When I get to work and stop in the smoke shack I'll run into co-workers who are miserable. (It's not all that warm in there.) Me? I'm cooling off and I feel fine. When we're leaving work those poor people are nearly in tears headed for a car that's as cold as ice. I'm wearing a get-up that feels sort of like pajamas.

There's one way that I have of putting it on those rare occasions when a non-bicycler will ask. You folks will understand this.

Yes. It takes effort. But not as much as you think.
And, yes. It can be uncomfortable. But not nearly as much as you think.
Most of the time, by far, it feels very, very good.
Add in the health benefits, the environmental benefits, fuel savings, auto-wear-and-tear savings and so on and it becomes a no-brainer.

And yet, I make no converts.

Maybe the simplest answer is the best;
Why do you do it? Because it feels good.

But they still won't believe you.
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Old 01-01-14, 12:39 AM   #84
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When a deer jumps out in front of me, my reaction on a bike is "Cool"! Vs in a car, where its "ZOMG! We're gonna die and total the car!'
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Old 01-01-14, 03:55 AM   #85
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One of the guys at work is thinking of buying a new GMC Acadia, $425/mo for the next 5 years, another is willing to fork over an $1800 penalty because he wants the next year model of the same car he's leasing in black. And then I show up on a 24*F morning with my bike. I like being a part of what I think is a saner way of living.

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Old 01-01-14, 05:07 AM   #86
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Add in the health benefits, the environmental benefits, fuel savings, auto-wear-and-tear savings and so on and it becomes a no-brainer.

And yet, I make no converts.
Isn't it odd? I get these looks too, like they don't believe that I actually enjoy it. I must be lying when I say that riding in the rain is not that bad. The assumption seems to be that I have some kind of love for self torture that I won't admit to. They're not about to fall for my line of bull about how I'm having fun.
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Old 01-01-14, 05:57 AM   #87
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I'll never have to worry about a speeding ticket rushing to work. Actually I'd be proud of myself if I got one.
At my old job, there was a downhill section that went past a police station, with a 25 mph limit. I was never able to get them to give me a speeding ticket, even though I blew past many a cop going 30+.
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Old 01-01-14, 06:02 AM   #88
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I like being 'in tune' with the weather. I have a better notion of what to expect than the auto addicts. And I always have the right clothes with me.
I love this - most of my commute is in the dark, but I can tell what flowers/vegetable/fruits are coming into season by the smells, and when I hear the first Redwing blackbird warble I know that spring is right around the corner, etc. Before I started riding, I often felt like the seasons were just flying by, and that I had never gotten to enjoy them as fully as I could. Now every ride is special. This season the smell of pine needles, woodsmoke, and the quacking of all the green-winged teals that have come in from the marshes to winter in the city ponds accompany my rides. Today I rode home from a midnight NYE 5K, and I left the race course just as the fog was rolling in. My head and shoulders were above the fog layer as I rode back through the park, and my lights underneath the fog made it a very surreal but pleasant experience.
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Old 01-01-14, 08:51 PM   #89
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I just finished a terrific snow commute. I don't even need to explain why that's likeable; anyone reading this already knows.

But a few people at work, who should know better, still asked me if I intended to ride home. I said, "Of course! It'll be great!" They looked at me like they just couldn't believe it. Like someone above, kookaburra I think, was describing.

I think they actually believed that the ride was going to be just awful, but that I couldn't bring myself to admit it to them.
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Old 01-01-14, 11:13 PM   #90
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Isn't it odd? I get these looks too, like they don't believe that I actually enjoy it. I must be lying when I say that riding in the rain is not that bad. The assumption seems to be that I have some kind of love for self torture that I won't admit to. They're not about to fall for my line of bull about how I'm having fun.
Well the difference between a person that makes that assumption (masochism), and yourself (and me), is that presumably you enjoy physical challenges. And they do not.

When I first started biking 2 years ago, I was 30-40 lbs. overweight, mostly sedentary, with some atrophy in my legs (type 2 Diabetic.. which really hurts when you need carbs for intense biking). My commute was 120+ mins. over some big hills. It was extremely grueling. So I was suffering far more than anyone could observe or assume. But I enjoy physical challenges so I had no psychological resistance to commuting by bike.. regardless of weather or other conditions. One of the obstacles that people don't realize in biking, or any physical exercising/training, is the effect of the subconscious. For example, I could do crunches or weightlift easier just by closing my eyes. The same with biking uphill (although not a good idea with a lot of traffic lol). Instead of the subconscious telling you that you're biking up that entire hill "at once", you can just focus on each push of your legs and exist in the moment; present time.
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Old 01-01-14, 11:25 PM   #91
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I love this - most of my commute is in the dark, but I can tell what flowers/vegetable/fruits are coming into season by the smells, and when I hear the first Redwing blackbird warble I know that spring is right around the corner, etc. Before I started riding, I often felt like the seasons were just flying by, and that I had never gotten to enjoy them as fully as I could. Now every ride is special. This season the smell of pine needles, woodsmoke, and the quacking of all the green-winged teals that have come in from the marshes to winter in the city ponds accompany my rides. Today I rode home from a midnight NYE 5K, and I left the race course just as the fog was rolling in. My head and shoulders were above the fog layer as I rode back through the park, and my lights underneath the fog made it a very surreal but pleasant experience.
I envy you. I visited some cousins in Eugene, OR about 10 years ago, and I was very impressed with how the city integrated a lot of the neighborhoods with nature. Hiking/biking trails everywhere. And I love the state parks up there as well as northern California (redwoods). Before that I had visited parts of Oregon along the coast to go hiking/camping when I was around 12, I felt like a part of me had died when we had to leave. It's so beautiful.

I'm stuck in Missouri which is aptly pronounced "Misery". That pretty much sums up nature out here. About the only thing I can really appreciate from biking out here is fresh air.
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Old 01-02-14, 04:58 AM   #92
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I'm stuck in Missouri which is aptly pronounced "Misery". That pretty much sums up nature out here. About the only thing I can really appreciate from biking out here is fresh air.

Whenever I've been stuck someplace where I wasn't too enamored of the environment, I always make a point to try and become familiar with the local birds - afterall, you get some of the migrations up from the Gulf of Mexico, and vagabonds from the south east, lots of colorful wild birds from there.
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Old 01-02-14, 06:25 AM   #93
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All of the very good reasons stated above plus the buzzing echo the chain makes as I pass by parked cars!
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Old 01-02-14, 06:41 AM   #94
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I just finished a terrific snow commute. I don't even need to explain why that's likeable; anyone reading this already knows.

But a few people at work, who should know better, still asked me if I intended to ride home. I said, "Of course! It'll be great!" They looked at me like they just couldn't believe it. Like someone above, kookaburra I think, was describing.

I think they actually believed that the ride was going to be just awful, but that I couldn't bring myself to admit it to them.

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Isn't it odd? I get these looks too, like they don't believe that I actually enjoy it. I must be lying when I say that riding in the rain is not that bad. The assumption seems to be that I have some kind of love for self torture that I won't admit to. They're not about to fall for my line of bull about how I'm having fun.

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Well the difference between a person that makes that assumption (masochism), and yourself (and me), is that presumably you enjoy physical challenges. And they do not.
At least about 20 years ago or so in Boston Magazine, was a cover featuring a runner or maybe it was a cyclist in spandex, with the headline something like “They Exercise and Work Out, and They Think They're Better Than You." I did not read the article, but that cover stuck in my mind. More recently, here in Boston I've heard occasional talk shows on the radio decrying the behavior of cyclists --- running red lights, filtering to the head of a line of cars, etc --- with a general attitude of “Who do they think they are.” Anti-cycling attitudes have even assumed political overtones (“Conservatives' new enemy: Bikes”).

As a decades-long year-round cycle commuter, I certainly have enjoyed banter with non-cyclists about my commute, particularly in bad weather. Many times I have posted to Bike Forums how I enjoy responding to that perennial question “You didn't ride your bike today, did you?”. But I have also encountered serious concern, and even hostility towards my foul-weather commuting. Those exchanges are not because my acquaintances are fat, lazy couch-potato types.

Most are seriously concerned about my welfare, and I'm grateful for that. I say everything I can to assure them that I take all precautions, like I wear lights and mirrors, and my routes are mostly lightly-traveled. The hostilities arise when there is not so much a concern for me, but for the drivers on the road, including themselves, who don’t want to hit a cyclist, and IMO, those are legitimate concerns.

I think that here in 21st Century America we cyclists are still a very small and little-understood minority, and disparaging the majority is not a very fruitful approach to spreading the message.
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Old 01-02-14, 12:27 PM   #95
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At least about 20 years ago or so in Boston Magazine, was a cover featuring a runner or maybe it was a cyclist in spandex, with the headline something like “They Exercise and Work Out, and They Think They're Better Than You." I did not read the article, but that cover stuck in my mind.
I wasn't going to mention it, but you reminded me. Last week there was a fender-bender on the way in that blocked all traffic on the road. Except me; I passed all the cars on the shoulder that had passed me in the last 2.5 miles, the cop waved me around, and I rode on, smugly superior, all alone on that side of the road for another 1.5 miles. Beautiful ride, beautiful road, beautiful bike.

Then I got a flat, as it started raining. :/

Still, 91% better way to get to work.
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